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The Architect and Carver Ivan Hreljić of Šibenik in the Light of Archival Records

Emil Hilje   ORCID icon ; Department of Art History, University of Zadar, Croatia

Puni tekst: hrvatski, pdf (707 KB) str. 135-158 preuzimanja: 617* citiraj
APA 6th Edition
Hilje, E. (2013). Šibenski graditelj i klesar Ivan Hreljić u svjetlu arhivske građe. Ars Adriatica, (3), 135-158. Preuzeto s
MLA 8th Edition
Hilje, Emil. "Šibenski graditelj i klesar Ivan Hreljić u svjetlu arhivske građe." Ars Adriatica, vol. , br. 3, 2013, str. 135-158. Citirano 11.07.2020.
Chicago 17th Edition
Hilje, Emil. "Šibenski graditelj i klesar Ivan Hreljić u svjetlu arhivske građe." Ars Adriatica , br. 3 (2013): 135-158.
Hilje, E. (2013). 'Šibenski graditelj i klesar Ivan Hreljić u svjetlu arhivske građe', Ars Adriatica, (3), str. 135-158. Preuzeto s: (Datum pristupa: 11.07.2020.)
Hilje E. Šibenski graditelj i klesar Ivan Hreljić u svjetlu arhivske građe. Ars Adriatica [Internet]. 2013 [pristupljeno 11.07.2020.];(3):135-158. Dostupno na:
E. Hilje, "Šibenski graditelj i klesar Ivan Hreljić u svjetlu arhivske građe", Ars Adriatica, vol., br. 3, str. 135-158, 2013. [Online]. Dostupno na: [Citirano: 11.07.2020.]

The architect and carver Ivan Hreljić of Šibenik is one of the lesser known master builders from the circle of Giorgio Dalmata, whose activity can be followed during the third quarter of the fifteenth century. Although he is mentioned relatively frequently in the known documents, even in relation to specific projects, he has remained, like some other master builders from Šibenik, on the margin of scholarly interest, while different transcriptions of his surname resulted in a situation where even the pieces of information the scholars have had at their disposal have remained scattered and unconnected, meaning that there have been no attempts to examine his activity in more detail.
Ivan Hreljić was a member of an active family of architects and stone-cutters who were originally from Žirje. Apart from his individual undertakings, he frequently took on specific commissions together with
his younger brother Luka, while their sons and nephews continued the family tradition in the stone-cutting business which was subsequently carried on into the third generation.
The earliest mention of the stone-cutter Ivan Hreljić is that of 19 December 1448 when he acted as a witness at the signing of a document by which the carpenter Matej Naradinić took Matej Ratković as an apprentice. In this, he is mentioned as a builder from Žirje but a resident of Šibenik. The following year is that of his marriage and freedom from his father’s authority, and after that, he appears in a number of documents from the archives at Šibenik that portray his life and activity relatively well, as well as his connections with numerous other stonecutting masters of Šibenik.
The first record of substantial work associated with him is that of 19 December 1449 when Giorgio Dalmata contracted him and Vukašin Marković to work on the town walls of Pag, and designated Ivo Stjepanov
Franulović as their collaborator. It seems that he spent the next few years at Pag; he is again mentioned at Šibenik only on 25 February 1455 when, together with his brother Luka and the stone-cutter Disman
Banjvarić, they committed themselves to supply the equivalent of thirty fathoms of wall in dressed stones to the representatives of the monastery of Holy Saviour.
On 10 June 1458, the brothers Ivan and Luka Hreljić were contracted by Martin Ostojić, the parish priest of Uzdolje, to make six three-feet wide pilasters along the exterior wall of the Church of St. John at Uzdolje, up to the height of the wall itself, but also to plaster the exterior and interior of the church, cover the roof with slates and wall up an old door. The two brothers obviously collaborated well and on 13 January 1459, they were
contracted by the representatives of the village of Široke to build them a church dedicated to St. Jerome which would be as large as the one of St. Michael at Mitlo. They also committed to vault the church, make an altar with a base carved from white stone, cover the roof with slates, erect a bell-tower similar to the one at Mitlo, and plaster the entire church on the inside and the outside.
On 3 March 1462, Ivan took on the commission of the Guardian of the Franciscan monastery of St. Mary at Vranduk to accompany him to Bosnia and work for him there for three months for the monthly payment of three ducats. It seems that he remained in Bosnia for much longer than the anticipated three months; after his return to Šibenik, he is frequently mentioned in the archival records from the autumn of 1464 onwards, more as an entrepreneur and intermediary, or an interested party in disputes, and as the owner of a ship, than with regard to specific stone-cutting jobs. Only on 23 October 1469 is Ivan mentioned as committing himself to supply a fixed amount of white stone for the building of the
Church of St. Mary at Fermo, an obligation confirmed in a document which features Radmil Ratković, another master who was active in the circle of Giorgio Dalmata, as his guarantor. The last document that mentions Ivan as being alive is that of 21 January 1474, but it is only on
8 December 1477 that he 4was referred to as dead, and so it is not possible to establish the exact year of his death.
Not a lot remains from Ivan Hreljić’s documented works and it is difficult to identify his contribution to the extant works with certainty, let alone any specific morphological elements which might point to the idiosyncrasies of his architectural or stone-cutting expression. Although the remains of the town walls at Pag are best preserved exactly in the portions for which Hreljić may have been responsible together with other
builders, their character is such that it prevents any assessment of specific artistic abilities and skills. Apart from the extremely simple wall surface, the north-west section of the fortifications at Pag is marked by a striking semicircular tower which has been identified as one of Giorgio Dalmata’s projects. The job on the Church of St. John at Uzdolje consisted of the strengthening and stabilization of the building through the addition of six strong exterior supports. The remains of all six pilasters built by the Hreljić brothers have been preserved only in their foundations, and these demonstrate that this specific architectural task was carried out professionally and solidly.
The Church of St. Jerome in the village of Široke is the only relatively well-preserved work on which it is possible to note at least some details which reveal the achievements of Ivan Hreljić’s craftsmanship as a carver. Unfortunately, this church was significantly remodelled and then transformed into the sanctuary of the new, much larger church, and its original façade was completely demolished. In addition, the original
frames of the doors and windows, which might have demonstrated Ivan’s carving skills to a certain degree, have also been lost. The only original carved element which still survives is a tabernacle niche in the shape
of a small Gothic window, which was carved into a block of stone next to the triumphal arch of the church. This modest and somewhat clumsily executed carving reveals that Ivan Hreljić was not a particularly
successful carver, and far from a sculptor. It is likely that his stone-cutting skills sufficed only for a solid dressing of stone blocks which were to be used by builders and, up to a certain degree, for the carving of
simple mouldings. His involvement with the Franciscan monastery of St. Mary at Vranduk is more important as a testimony about the reputation of the builders who belonged to Giorgio Dalmata’s circle at Šibenik, than as a concrete building task, especially since the monastery at Vranduk has only been preserved in its archaeological remains, which makes it impossible to establish Ivan’s possible contribution to its building.
Equally so, the supply of stone for the building of the Cathedral of St. Mary at Fermo still cannot be connected to specific parts of this structure.
Apart from information about Ivan’s life and business, archival records bear evidence of his frequent and numerous contacts with other stone-cutting masters of Šibenik. Regardless of whether these documents refer
to some sort of collaboration, assessment of the quality of someone else’s work, usage of a ship, or merely feature stone-cutters as witnesses for each other’s job contracts, such documented contacts reveal strong mutual links in the developed community of stonecutting masters at Šibenik. The list of names which appear in the documents mentioning Ivan Hreljić (Giorgio Dalmata, Lorenzo Pincino, Vukašin Marković,
Ivo Stjepanov Franulović, Disman Banjvarić, Ivan Obertić, Juraj Radeljić, Matej Radeljić, Andrija Butčić, Ivan Pribislavljić, Matko Stoislavljić, Martin Krešulov from Korčula, Blaž Dianišević, Antun Oštričić, Radmil Ratković, Pavao, Grgur and Petar Pripković, Radoslav Dragčić, Pavao Spauleta, Martin Pavlinović, Petar Berčić) provides a representative cross-section of
architectural and stone-cutting circles in Šibenik from the time when Giorgio Dalmata played the leading role in them. And, it was Ivan Hreljić and men like him who enabled Giorgio Dalmata to execute individual
commissions efficiently and realize specific ideas, but also to operate in that entrepreneurial approach so characteristic of him, through which he used the services of the masters who entered his circle according to how well they fitted into his designs and projects.

Ključne riječi
Ivan Hreljić; Giorgio Dalmata (Juraj Dalmatinac or Giorgio da Sebenico); architecture; Šibenik; fifteenth century

Hrčak ID: 112110



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